On a Positive "Note"... The Value of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database


What do most manufacturing sales reps normally do when they get a sales lead? A lot of them grab a sticky note and put it on their computer with the best intentions of following up—until the sticky note falls off, and it’s nowhere to be found. Then, the lead is history.

There has to be a better way, right? There is. It’s called a customer relationship management (CRM) database. If you already use a CRM, you understand what a game changer it can be. If you don’t use one yet, it’s time to get on board.

CRM Defined.
According to Wikipedia, CRM is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential future customers that tries to analyze data about customers’ history with a company and to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

Five Key Benefits for Manufacturers.
Integrated with Microsoft Outlook, a CRM database will conveniently put all of your action items, contacts, quotes and important client data in one place—and help you easily manage and analyze it throughout the entire lifecycle. The main goals are to improve relationships with your clients, increase retention and drive sales growth. Here are five major benefits for manufacturers:

1. Organization
All client interactions should be documented. Thanks to CRM technology, it can become a reality; storing all of your contacts, meeting notes/discussions, plus other pertinent information in one convenient location. Since it’s cloud-based, all key staff at your organization have actionable data at their fingertips.

2. Better Communication
Communication is paramount to success. Whether it’s a pressing issue or a new product launch, your entire team will have the information they need and your clients expect. When you have a CRM database, it’s possible for your team (sales manager, administrative assistant or the CEO) to stay in the loop.

3. Improves Service
Your time (and your clients’ time) is valuable. If a client contacts your office with a concern, he or she is not going to be satisfied unless the issue is handled in a courteous and timely manner. With a CRM, as soon as the client contacts your company, key employees will have access to this helpful information and will be able to handle it in an appropriate manner.

4. Automation of Daily Tasks
Whether it’s getting a lead or cultivating a relationship, the sales process isn’t always easy. Along the way, there are possibly dozens of small, time-consuming tasks that must be completed—from filling out forms to sending emails. With a CRM, you are able to automate the little things so you can concentrate on the important things, e.g. closing the sale.

5. Win Rate Optimization
Do you know your win rate historically? You should. Win rate is the ratio of sales you’ve won in relation to the amount of leads that have been generated. Having a CRM is the simplest way to effectively measure your win rate and the ratio of leads to closed sales. When you focus your attention on your win rate, you can effectively break it down by each stage, test new strategies and be able to correctly identify where you get the best return on investment.

Getting Started.
Typically, a CRM database can be implemented in about a day. (Yes, this includes training!) If you already have a proper contact list, implementation will be even faster. Remember, CRM databases can be easily modified to fit your company’s specific needs. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about losing revenue as a result of incomplete data (or a lost sticky note) again.

Want to get started? The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) is your best resource for a CRM database. Contact me today at gsingos@the-center.org.


George Singos, Business Leader Advisor
George Singos is a Business Leader Advisor for The Center. He has more than 30 years of manufacturing experience in various capacities. For the past 20 years he has focused on sales and marketing management both domestically and internationally. To read George’s full bio, visit http://www.the-center.org/About-The-Center/Our-Team/Growth-Team/Singos

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Categories: growth, Sales & Marketing, Technology